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Statewide IPM Program, University of California

Ducksalad  (Heteranthera limosa)

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Life stages of Ducksalad mature plants seeds infestation seedlings seedling

Ducksalad is an annual to perennial aquatic plant. In California it is found mostly in the Sacramento Valley. Typically it grows in water. Seedlings are submerged and the mature plant emerges from the water's surface. Ducksalad may grow on mud banks where water has receded. It inhabits ditches, ponds, lake margins, and is an early season problem in rice, primarily in open water.


The seedling is hairless, submerged, and typically forms a rosette of narrow ribbonlike leaves.

Young plant

Older juvenile plants may have floating leaves.

Mature plant

The mature plant is erect and grows to over 1-1/2 feet (about 0.5 m) with bright, waxy green, oval-shaped leaf blades that may be submerged, floating, or held above the water's surface. Sometimes plants develop a creeping horizontal stem.


Flowers bloom from April through July. The single, showy flower has a long stalk and opens above the water. It has six petals arranged in a narrow star shape that may be white or bluish purple.


Fruits consist of erect capsules that are about 4/5 of an inch (2 cm) long.


Seeds germinate only in saturated soil.


Reproduces primarily by seed.

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